The new Equilibrium Disc combines a Reynolds 631 frame and fork with Hayes CX Expert disc brakes, H+Son Archetype/Shimano XT wheels and a Shimano 105 groupset for £1,499. We've just got our hands on one to review, and here it is. Let's take a closer look.
The Equilibrium has been a firm road.cc favourite over the years, with the steel and titanium version both going down well with our testers. More recently they introduced an 853 version which our Dave awarded a four star review. He liked it a lot. This new Disc version is their latest addition to the growing range, and is the first time discs brakes have been offered in the Equilibrium range.
Genesis has been offering disc brakes elsewhere in its range for a number of years, such as the Croix de Fer for an example. It was only a matter of time before the popular and always well-received Equilibrium got the disc treatment.
As regular readers will know, disc brakes are the hot topic in the road cycling world this year, and you don’t have to go far before encountering some divided opinions. One thing is for sure, on a bike like this, designed not for racing but for fast and comfortable leisure riding, touring and commuting, there’s a very strong argument for the benefits of disc brakes.
This new Equilibrium Disc is a fine looking bike. The skinny Reynolds 631 tubes are beautifully paired with the lugged and raked fork, and it’s all topped off with a thick coat of gloss black. Understated and classy are two words that spring to mind. Purposeful and fast are another two, and with the same geometry as the regular Equilibrium, the handling should be very familiar to anyone who has ridden a Equilibrium.
There’s one key difference - they’ve added 2mm to the chainstays to ensure a clean chain line for reliable shifting with the wider 135mm rear wheel spacing. The wider spacing of the rear wheel pushes the chain further out when in the smallest sprockets of the cassette, if the chainstays are too short there is the potential for the chain to foul on the chainset or front mech when in certain gear combinations. This change also has the benefit of providing extra clearance so that 28mm tyres and full-length mudguards sit happily in the frame.
The rear brake caliper has been mounted on the outside of the seat stay, just above the cowled dropouts and mudguard mounts. We’ll get a set of ‘guards on it and see how easy it is to fit them them with the caliper where it is. There’s a small tube reinforcing the dropout area between the chainstay and seatstay.
Genesis has worked hard on the details and made the smart decision to go the extra mile with the wheels: H+Son Archetype 23mm wide rims are laced to Shimano Deore XT M756 6-bolt hubs with double-butted spokes. The wheels really add to the Equilibrium’s aesthetic appeal and nicely match the frame and fork. A pair of Continental Grand Sport Race 25mm wire beaded tyres are fitted, but you could go wider, up to 28mm if you fancy it.
Hayes CX Expert mechanical disc brakes with 160mm lightweight rotors are found at both wheels. Genesis told us they had thought about going for smaller and lighter 140mm rotors, but decided that customers would probably prefer the extra stopping power of the bigger rotors and be less concerned about a marginal weight increase.
Shifters and both derailleurs are from the Shimano 105 catalogue, while the compact 50/34 chainset is a non-series R565 item. It’s paired with a 12-27 cassette. That gearing will give you a good set-up for getting its 10.85kg (23.92lb) weight up the hills. That's for a size 58cm by the way. We reckon it’s carrying about an extra 1kg over the similarly specced non-disc braked Equilibrium, and part of that weight will be in the steel fork, some in the wheels and possibly the brakes too. It’s a small weight difference, but the performance benefits as we head into winter could pay dividends. Dave will be finding out because he’s the elected reviewer, since it arrived in his size.
Finishing kit - that’s the handlebar, stem, bar tape, saddle and seatpost - is all Genesis own-brand 0.3 Road kit. It’s all good stuff, the Prime saddle looks a comfortable shape and bars have a compact shape with a 70mm reach and 125mm drop. The seatpost is 27.2mm diameter.
All that for £1,499. Seems well priced to us. Alternatively you can buy the frameset (frame, fork, seat clamp) for £549.99. More at www.genesisbikes.co.uk
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.